This venerable town, known as "the gateway to Austria," is situated on the western edge of Vorarlberg province. At an elevation of 460 meters it has around 31 000 inhabitants, located along the riverside, Railroad Station nearby, Ski-In/Ski-Out.
Most people rush on to other destinations, but we think the town, which dates back to medieval times is worth exploring. Feldkirch was once a fortified town that grew up at the heel of Schattenburg Castle, on a affluent of the Ill River.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Feldkirch was a very quiet, even sleepy little town. Both renowned Conan-Doyle as a student and musician and Joyce as an author spent some time in the cosy town of Feldkirch.
The New Town is located to the northeast, but the Old Town, which can be explored in about an hour is the attraction here. The heart of the Old Town is Marktgasse (Market Street), a rectangle with arcades. Many of the old houses facing Marktgasse are graced with oriels (large bay windows) and frescoed facades. An interesting and popular wine festival is held in Feldkirch on the second weekend of July, and the town fills up with revelers.
Among the curiosities of the Old Town is the Katzenturm (Tower of the Cats), named for a defense cannon adorned with lion heads. The Churertor (Chur Gate) is another landmark of the town. Sights include the Domkirche, a cathedral known for its fifteenth century double nave, where one should stop in and see the Descent from the Cross, a 1521 painting by Wolf Huber of the Danube school.
Schattenburg Schloss (Schattenburg Castle), at Neustadt, can be reached by car or one can climb the steps by the Schloss-Steig. The castle was once a fortress and parts of it date from the turn of the sixteenth century. It is now a museum and restaurant. From the castle precincts, one has a great panoramic view of the Valley of the Rhine.
Heimatmuseum in Schattenburg Schloss, exhibits a wealth of furnishings of the region, ranging from those you might have found in a farmer's shack to pieces that graced noblemen's halls. Also displayed are large collections of art and armor. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 am to noon and 13:00 to 17:00 pm.
Feldkirch lies atop of an important junction in the Austrian railway network, with lines to Innsbruck and Bregenz, as well as a line running into Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Dozens of trains arrive every day from Innsbruck, which trip takes about two hours and Bregenz - trip time around half an hour. It's easier to arrive by train, but many local bus lines connect the town of Feldkirch as well.
Passengers who choose to fly to a point near Feldkirch usually land in Zurich. From the Hauptbahnhof in Zurich, trains depart on every two hours, stopping at Feldkirch en route to either Innsbruck or Vienna.
By car, Feldkirch is thirty-five kilometers south of Bregenz (one should take the A14 south to reach it) and 121 km east of Zurich (the nearest airport), from which it can be reached by the Swiss motorway N13 to the Feldkirch exit.